CMO Digital Summit – Long Live Digital Highlights!

I had the pleasure of attending the annual Millward Brown Digital CMO Summit last week.  The theme of the conference was “Breakthrough.”  Highly relevant given the age we live in. This is a world with more ads and less attention, that now requires brands to build creative that not only reaches consumers across multiple channels and devices but has the ability to stop them in their tracks.  With consumers seeing on average 132,130 ads per year or 362 a day, the conference highlighted the importance of content, building creative for a mobile-first world, audience understanding and last but not least measurement.

The most compelling sessions of the event showcased the best strategies and tactics to breakthrough. Representatives from Twitter, Facebook and mPlatform/GroupM went so far as to provide real-world examples, case studies and suggestions.  My key takeaways from the conference are highlighted below.

Breakthrough Content:

Twitter’s Stacy Minero provided several compelling tips to help brands win the war for attention.  While the evolution of digital has evolved and improved our cognitive capabilities to process more, marketers do need to be more strategic and creative to breakthrough according to Stacy.  Her recommendations for success included the following:

  • Build unique content (i.e. – 3D content)

    – Creative that will be noticed within the first seconds to “stop people in their tracks immediately.” Examples included Starbucks’ holiday campaign which included “kissing Starbucks cups.”

  • Creating a cohesive visual identity

    – Doing so helps assure all assets across all platforms are working together to reinforce your messaging and brands.

  • Leveraging memory encoding

    – Think short form, lightweight content. In a world where we are struggling to get noticed in seconds, the best performing content is under 15 seconds and provides a lift in response rates of 18% on average.

  • Tell a short story

    – Leverage a network of creators to build content around a theme. Creative is subjective and having a variety of creative executions to appeal to different opinions not only increases your reach, but will ultimately impact your performance, appeal, and shareability.

  • Make it personal

    – Tap into individual passions. Stacy specifically highlighted Disney’s Captain America’s Civil War campaign which encouraged consumers to pick a side, #teamcap or #teamironman, and included personalized videos to individuals welcoming them to the team by the movie’s lead characters.  Consumer involvement and sharing reached new highs due to the program’s focus on involving its audience.

Mobile First

We heard from Jesse Goranson of Facebook, who stressed the importance of being Mobile First, and highlighted the fact that half of mobile users customize their mobile device.  In addition, according to Facebook’s analysis, mobile users scan content in 1.7 seconds compared to. 2.5 seconds on desktop. As a result, mobile behavior is and should be largely visual first.  No doubt this explains the success of both Instagram and Snapchat, but what should marketers do to “breakthrough?”  Jesse suggested the following:

  • Design and optimize for mobile first

  • Think about how you use mobile to complement everything else you do:

    • Start with your audience/people
    • Reimagine storytelling
    • Lead with visual cues
    • Design for versatility
    • Get inspired and…
    • Mix assets

Audience Understanding & Measurement

Finally, Nicolle Pangis from mPlatform/GroupM took the stage to highlight the growing importance of connecting devices & audience attributions to people. There is little doubt that in an increasingly fragmented world, understanding the devices, channels, interests and identities of consumers has never been more important to breakthrough. Furthermore, the rise of the identity graphs to help brands match individuals across these channels and devices has emerged in recent years and has now made this all possible.


But what good is great targeting without understanding its impact to breakthrough?  Joiline McGoldrick of Kantar Millward Brown wrapped up the conference by sharing the importance of measurement, and two new partners (SambaTV and Cuebiq) who are leading the way to help brands not only better understand consumers and their behaviors, but to measure the performance of their ad and marketing efforts.  As Millward Browns official third-party offline measurement company, Cuebiq is taking the lead on offline measurement.  The Cuebiq/Millward Brown partnership shines a big light on what has been, until now, a black hole.  In fact, despite 93% of all transactions occurring offline, marketers have had very little insights into these consumers’ behaviors.  The Cuebiq platform now provides visibility into these offline behaviors by tracking the offline behaviors of more than one in every four US smartphone users in the US.  Specific insights include details on visits, dwell time and the footfall uplift resulting from cross-channel advertising and marketing efforts.  By bridging the gap between online and offline, Cuebiq and Millward Brown are setting the new standard for offline measurement and insights that are necessary to help marketers build and optimize breakthrough marketing programs.

There is little doubt that CMOs are being challenged to do more in what seems to be an increasingly complex and sophisticated world.  The CMO Digital Summit is one of those events that challenges attendees to think differently by breaking through with new ways to build creative, connect with and understanding consumers and shine new light onto channels previously invisible to many marketers. By implementing the practical advice and solutions given, marketers have the opportunity to revive their marketing efforts with breakthrough programs that meet the expectations of a growingly sophisticated consumer.

Long live marketing!

Michael Della Penna

Chief Revenue & Growth Officer, Cuebiq